Phil Spencer hopes for emulation across the industry, even when the Xbox emulation ends | MCU Times

Phil Spencer hopes for emulation across the industry, even when the Xbox emulation ends

Video game emulation is great for two things: preserving game history and allowing people to easily pirate old software. The industry’s relationship with emulation has been rocky as a result, but Xbox’s excellent first-party emulation efforts have given everyone a bit of hope – until those efforts ended after the latest Xbox backwards compatibility update. Still, the Xbox boss hopes the industry will find a solution to preserve old games.

“My hope (and I think I have to present it that way from now on) is that we as an industry would work on legal emulation that would allow modern hardware to run anyone (within reason). limits) older executable so anyone could play any game, “Xbox boss Phil Spencer tells Axios.

Spencer’s stated hope comes just after Microsoft’s gaming division put an end to its own first-party emulation. “While we continue to stay focused on preserving and improving the art form of gaming,” as the message put it, “we have reached the limit of our ability to bring new games to the catalog from the past due to licensing, legal and technical limitations.”

The details of these licenses and legal restrictions may never be clear, but Xbox developers cleared every newly added backwards compatible game with its respective licensees. Using emulators, whether official or made by fans, is perfectly legal, but distributing copyrighted software through unofficial channels is definitely not. This makes even official emulation solutions difficult to implement.

The emulator, which Microsoft built for Xbox backward compatibility, was quite unique among official emulators, as it generally surpasses the performance of fan-made emulators for Xbox games. You would generally hope that a first-party would do better than the fans, but as we have seen with the recent debacles like Nintendo 64 games on the Switch, this is usually not the case.

Still, emulation has proven to be a useful tool for publishers to keep old games in distribution – there are plenty of old games on GOG and Steam, for example using DOSBox. There have been steps in the right direction, but Xbox’s own licensing issues have shown how difficult it can be to make this work legally.

As Spencer puts it: “I think in the end, if we said, ‘Hey, everyone should be able to buy any game, or own any game and keep playing,’ then it works. it as a big north star for us as an industry. “

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